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Microsc Microanal. 2013 Feb;19(1):111-9. doi: 10.1017/S1431927612014055.

Grain boundary character distribution of nanocrystalline Cu thin films using stereological analysis of transmission electron microscope orientation maps.

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Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Stereological analysis has been coupled with transmission electron microscope (TEM) orientation mapping to investigate the grain boundary character distribution in nanocrystalline copper thin films. The use of the nanosized (<5 nm) beam in the TEM for collecting spot diffraction patterns renders an order of magnitude improvement in spatial resolution compared to the analysis of electron backscatter diffraction patterns in the scanning electron microscope. Electron beam precession is used to reduce dynamical effects and increase the reliability of orientation solutions. The misorientation distribution function shows a strong misorientation texture with a peak at 60°/[111], corresponding to the Σ3 misorientation. The grain boundary plane distribution shows {111} as the most frequently occurring plane, indicating a significant population of coherent twin boundaries. This study demonstrates the use of nanoscale orientation mapping in the TEM to quantify the five-parameter grain boundary distribution in nanocrystalline materials.

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